The way to maintain the wick is to burn it dry. The reason to burn the wick dry is that it will last longer and be in better condition for the wick life. The time to burn a wick dry is the first time you light the kerosene appliance and when the wick seems to be getting too much tar or soot buildup.
1- Take the appliance outdoors for the first burn. Put the unit on a flat level surface that is free of wind and combustible materials.
2- Fill the fuel reservoir with only enough kerosene to burn the wick for an hour and a half. Typically, this will be around a half a gallon. For the correct amount, consult the owners manual to determine the rate at which the appliance burns the fuel.
3- Wait 20-30 minutes so that the wick can become fully saturated with fuel.
4- Using the wick adjustment knob, turn it clockwise to raise the wick to full height.
5- Light the wick with the ignitor or a match.
6- Let the flame burn in the highest position until it is around one inch in height.
7- Lower the wick to about halfway so that the appliance can be broke in. This will allow the burner and all the other surfaces to burn off their newness and congeal. This step is only necessary for a new appliance. In addition, lowering the wick doesn't help the wick life. It is mostly convenient to burn the appliance in outside for the first time because you end up burning off some of the manufacturing chemicals.
8- After the burner and the rest of the appliance looks properly broken in, raise the wick to the highest point again for about an hour.
9- Let the wick burn until the fuel runs out. This is why it is called burning it dry. You burn the wick until there is no fuel left.